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“Whyyyy do I always freak out like that?!”

That’s me, by the way, complaining to my husband about how no matter what I did to try to stay calm I was constantly losing it on my kids.

Maybe you can relate…

Your kid starts with the “mom mom moooooom mom mommy mother mom mom mommmmy mom hey mom!” until you finally snap “WHAT?!”

Or maybe they scream their little face off after you’ve had a rough day and you end up screaming back

Or maybe they go to hit you and you lock yourself in another room while they pound on the door because you just can’t even handle it anymore

And friend, I get it.

Why is it that we just can’t keep our cool when our kids do certain behaviors?

Later we know what we should have done instead, but in the moment it just seems impossible.

Well friends, this often happens because you’re triggered.

Now, I know, this word is thrown around on the internet almost as much as that ice bucket challenge from a few years ago… So let’s get clear on what I mean.

In the context of this post, being triggered simply means that something happened that ‘triggered’ you into an instinctive reaction instead of a thought out, chosen response.

But here’s the frustrating part… We don’t always recognize that we’re triggered.

So in this post, I’m going to break down four specific steps to check in with yourself and recognize when you’re triggered.

Woman faces the camera looking angry in front of a pink background. At the top, text reads: How to Know if You're Being Triggered in 4 Simple Steps. In the center, there are screenshots of a guide called "signs of being triggered" and text that reads: Plus a Free Printable Guide! with an arrow pointing toward the screenshots. At the bottom, text reads: AutisticMama.com.

(Psssst… Want the free printable guide that dives into each of these steps in more detail? Click here!)

How to Recognize You’re Triggered in 4 Simple Steps

Before I jump into the four steps… I want to take a moment to talk about why this matters.

Why does it matter if you’re triggered when you lose it on your kids?

Well, friend, if you know that you’re being triggered, you can dive into why what happened is triggering you.

You can figure out the coping strategies that help you stay calm and in control when triggered.

You can create an in the moment plan (and an oops plan) for how you might handle it next time.

Now, all of that is too much for one blog post… But recognizing that you’re triggered is the first step to making all of those other pieces possible.

#1 Check-In Mentally

The first place I recommend you start is by checking in mentally.

These are the thoughts or thought patterns that often go through your mind when you’re triggered.

You may find yourself catastrophizing.

This is basically when your brain takes the current situation, and it goes instantly catastrophizes it to the worst-case scenario.

You also might start having a victim mentality, blaming anyone or anything for the situation you’re in.

Your child’s behaviors are done to you, your spouse isn’t considering you, or your situation seems anything but fair.

You also may start disassociating when you’re triggered, finding yourself numb or feeling like you aren’t truly in control of your own body and reactions.

Or you might fall into a “why even bother” mindset where you stop trying to make things better because there’s no point anyways.

Any of these types of thoughts might be signs that you’re being triggered.

(For more details, click here to download the printable guide!)

#2 Check-In Physically

After checking in with your thoughts, you’ll want to check in with any physical signs of being triggered that you notice.

One of the most common physical signs of being triggered is a racing heart rate.

If you find yourself feeling like you just ran up a flight of stairs even though you’re standing still… You’re likely being triggered.

Another physical sign of being triggered is muscle tensing. You might notice you’re clenching your fist or feeling tension in your face or shoulders.

When you’re triggered you also might notice your face flushing and turning red.

If you feel physically hot without a logical reason, you’re likely being triggered.

(For more details, click here to download the printable guide!)

#3 Check-In Emotionally

Next I want you to check-in emotionally for signs that you’re being triggered.

Now, some may say to do this first, but I think it’s important to check into our thoughts and physical responses before digging into emotions… And here’s why.

Our emotions are fickle. And when we check in with emotions first, we naturally find proof that they’re true.

And let me be clear: whatever you feel is valid, but it isn’t always true.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at a few emotional signs that you’re being triggered.

One clear sign that you’re being triggered is if you feel straight rage.

When your anger takes over and you feel out of control, you’re definitely triggered, friend.

Another emotional sign of being triggered is feeling overwhelming anxiety.

If you feel so afraid or anxious, or you feel like the world is falling apart around you, that’s a sure sign of being triggered.

You might also feel defeated when you’re triggered. This comes back to the thought of ‘why even bother’.

(For more details, click here to download the printable guide!)

#4 Check-In Verbally

Finally, you can check-in with yourself verbally.

Basically, you might find yourself saying certain things when you’re triggered without even realizing it.

“I just can’t deal with this” can be a definite sign that you’re being triggered and you have reached your total boiling point.

You might also find yourself saying something like “This ALWAYS happens!” or “You NEVER do what I ask.”

Those statements are rarely true, things very rarely happen 100% of the time or 0% of the time…

But oh in the moment when you’re triggered it sure feels like they do!

Another verbal sign you’re being triggered is… Hulk Mom voice.

This is a text platform, so you can’t hear what I’m thinking, but I’m guessing you can imagine.

This is that weird voice change that happens when you just completely lose it at your kids.

It often goes something like this…


It’s not just yelling something like “Come on, humans, knock it off” this is that rage we talked about earlier coming out as the Hulk Mom voice.

And friend — if you fall into Hulk Mom voice, even if you know better and try your hardest to stay calm, you are not alone.

(For more details, click here to download the printable guide!)

Free Printable Guide: Signs of Being Triggered

Phew. I know that was a lot. But here’s the deal…

There’s only so much I can fit into one blog post.

That’s why I’ve put together this free printable guide: Signs of Being Triggered.

This blog post talked about 12 different signs to look for, while the guide covers twenty.

Plus it goes more in-depth into what each of the signs looks like and feels like.

It’s pretty great, if I do say so myself, and it’s 100% FREE!

Click here to access your Signs of Being Triggered Guide!

And if you loved this post, you should definitely check out…